Elvis has been getting a lot of well-deserved buzz lately, what with the Baz Luhrmann film being poised to win armloads of awards (see a complete list of nominations and wins here), not to mention the sad, untimely death of Lisa Marie Presley, so it’s no shock that a lot of streaming services are running all kinds of Elvis or Elvis-adjacent content of various qualities. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but in the case of 2020’s Elvis From Outer Space, there’s something very, very wrong.
The movie is narrated by Elvis impersonator Big M (David Heavener) who says at the time of his supposed death, Elvis (George Thomas) was taken in by kindly aliens on Alpha Centauri who basically give him a new body, so he looks different and feels twenty-five again. Yeah. Nice way to explain why Elvis doesn’t look like himself anymore.
Anyway, for the past thirty years Elvis has been entertaining those kindly aliens, all of whom line up to groove to the music and take in Elvis’s pelvis-shaking. It’s been thirty years, though, and Elvis is homesick, a feeling he expresses by looking sad-eyed and singing the blues, natch. So the aliens plan to send him back to Earth for a while, but there’s a problem: His new space-built body won’t last long because the atmospheric pressure will make him age too fast.
Still, the aliens and Elvis put a call in directly to the President, and Elvis asks for help to find his daughter, Linda Truman, who was apparently born in 1960. The aliens beam Elvis down to Vegas, of course. Well, somewhere south of Vegas, where a CIA car meets him and takes him to Area 52, which is apparently where the government moved their alien research after Area 51 got too well-known (!). Elvis’s alias is John Burrows, and the President is nervous about him being back on Earth because reasons. That, and the aliens kind if irritate him. Still, Elvis has got a liason named Agent Messina (Diane Yang Kirk) who’s the CIA’s foremost Elvis expert and a huge fan. “Elvis is ready to rock!” she tells the President.
Just wait. It gets better.
The aliens keep circling the Earth, where they watch Elvis, er. John’s every move like a badly-animated Greek chorus, and after Agent Messina brings John a sandwich (peanut butter and banana, no doubt), he starts coughing like Napoleon Dynamite attempting time travel. It’s all a ruse, though, because when an agent comes in to check things out, Elvis, argh, John, not only karate chops him but throws lightning from his hands, He even shakes his pelvis after the poor guy falls to the floor.
Agent Messina helps John give the CIA the slip just in time for the 1970s Elvis World Crown Competition to be announced, and the pressure’s on. It seems to be all the same guys who enter this contest every year, they all know each other, and they all eye John with suspicion. Big M is an especial cheese and he and John are rivals from the beginning because naturally John is a magnetic fella. Producer Jackie Nolan (Lauren-Elaine Powell) agrees, which is why she and John make a beeline for the nearest hotel room after the contest’s opening ceremonies.
Love or something might be in the air (more something than love), but meanwhile, the CIA has taken John’s daughter, Linda, prisoner, the other faux Elvises are despondent at John leveling all of them at the competition, and John has a meetup with one of his Memphis Mafia members, Sonny West. He also might have to convince Sonny and the other Elvises to join him on his quest to get Linda back. Meanwhile, the media is buzzing, well, it’s this guy named Barry but we’ll get to that, the President is fuming, a mysterious guy is watching from Area 52, and the aliens are calmly watching everything and blinking, waiting for their chance to beam Elvis back up.
Oh, golly. This. Movie. There are no Elvis songs, just really bad impressions set to Elvis-ish Muzak, the lip synching is some kind of awful, the acting is terrible, the comedy is nonexistent, the storyline is weak, and the CGI makes Mortal Kombat: Annihilation look like a masterpiece.
The movie has a zero percent critics’ rating on Rotten Tomatoes. What a shock. And Martin Kove has a brief cameo as a CHP officer even though the story is supposedly set in Vegas. With a clearly visible California license plate, might I add. It’s probably a good thing that this movie hasn’t been seen very often because doxxing isn’t cool.
And Outer Space guys? Green rooms are not actually green, at least not the kind of green in Elvis From Outer Space. I don’t know why this needs to be stated except that whenever the fake Elvises go offstage everything is lit with this atrocious chartreuse light, making everyone look various shades of antifreeze green, Simpsons yellow, or, in the case of Big M, orange like an Oompa Loompa. It happens every time and it’s hideous.
Speaking of hideous, the filming angles in the movie are unavoidably, improbably cringe-y and very amateurish, usually from the chin down. The President is filmed in a dark room from the chin down, always in profile. Agent Messina is filmed from the chin down. Another guy we don’t even know is filmed from the chin down and it doesn’t flatter him whatsoever. There’s also this weird cut between when Elvis sees Sonny and when he gets up to hug him, then when they sit down the film cuts again. Who thought this was a good idea? Who, really? I’m trying to be nice here, but it defies description.
Oh yeah, and then there’s that guy, Barry, who gets more screen time than any of the Elvis impersonators, including John. He’s the emcee at the lookalike contest, for one thing, and the intro to his show is heard a whopping seven times. Yup. Seven. Remember the “Boats! Boats! Boats!” bit from How I Met Your Mother? Something about that bears a remarkable resemblance to Barry’s intro. Anyone who has seen Mother will know what I mean. If anyone hasn’t seen it, well, I’m heartily sorry because it can’t be unseen.
It’s hard to tell if all of this badness was done on purpose or not, but either way sooner or later cringe has to give way to “What the actual flying fish?” kind of laughter. In the case of Elvis From Outer Space when one cringe ends another is waiting. It’s hard to forget but impossible to remember.
For more so-bad-it’s-goodness, please see our Day Three posts here. Thanks for reading, all…
Elvis From Outer Space is available to own on DVD from Amazon and free to stream on Tubi.
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One thought on “Supercilious Aliens From Alpha Centauri”
If only there was a horror element to this, I’m sure Andrew from our site would be all over it. 😀 I do like how they came up with an excuse for Elvis to not look like Elvis. I’ve got to give them credit for that. Very funny review, Rebecca.